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112th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 112-676
MANHATTAN PROJECT NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK ACT
September 18, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 5987]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred
the bill (H.R. 5987) to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos,
New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington, and for other purposes,
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 5987 is to establish the Manhattan
Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los
Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The Manhattan Project was an unprecedented top-secret
program implemented during World War II to produce an atomic
bomb before Nazi Germany. In 2001, the Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation identified the development of the atomic
bomb as ``the single most significant event of the 20th
century.'' In 2004, Congress authorized a study of historic
sites associated with the Manhattan Project to determine the
suitability and feasibility of including such sites into the
National Park System. In 2010, the National Park Service
reported back positive recommendations to create a national
historical park composed of specific significant locations at
Hanford, Washington, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge,
H.R. 5987 authorizes the establishment of the historical
park whose primary purposes are to improve public understanding
of the Manhattan Project and its legacy. The legislation is
designed to enhance public access to the historical park
consistent with protection of public safety, national security,
and other aspects of the mission of the Department of Energy.
While H.R. 5987 establishes the Manhattan Sites Historical
Park, it first allows a period of time for the Secretary of the
Interior to further consider which of the specified locations
will be available to the public and included in the boundaries
of the park at its establishment, and which locations may be
incorporated at a later date.
Unlike other units of the National Park System, this
historical park will contain facilities currently managed by
the Department of Energy. In fact, the majority of the areas
designated for inclusion in the historical park are Department
of Energy facilities already owned by the federal government.
These sites will remain under the jurisdiction of the
Department of Energy, but the interpretive responsibilities
will be led by the National Park Service. By establishing this
park, historical facilities currently scheduled to be destroyed
by the Department of Energy will instead be preserved and made
available for public visitation. Protecting these facilities
will reduce federal spending for these facilities' remediation
by millions of dollars, while the Park Service's interpretative
responsibilities will be undertaken from within the agency's
overall administrative budget. For example, the first full-
scale nuclear reactor ever built, the B Reactor at the Hanford
site in Washington state, would alone cost tens of millions of
dollars to demolish, while facilitating safe and secure public
access to the structure can occur under this park at a small
fraction of the cost. Due to the unique circumstances of these
facilities and ongoing government missions at these locations,
the legislation requires coordination, planning and cooperation
between the Park Service and the Department of Energy to ensure
safe and secure access to these locations and protection of
national security. Additionally, the Department of Energy would
retain responsibility for any environmental remediation.
H.R. 5987 contains significant private property rights
protections. The legislation explicitly prohibits condemnation
and requires written permission of owners before property may
even be included within the historical park boundary.
Furthermore, buffer zones are prohibited around the park
boundaries and land acquisition may occur only by donation or
H.R. 5987 was introduced on June 21, 2012, by Congressman
Doc Hastings (R-WA). The bill was referred to the House
Committee on Natural Resources, and within Committee to the
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. On
June 28, 2012, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and
Public Lands held a hearing on the bill. On July 11, 2012, the
Full Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands was
discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments were offered,
and the bill was adopted and ordered favorably to the House of
Representatives by unanimous consent.
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 5987--Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act
H.R. 5987 would establish the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park from eligible sites in Tennessee, New Mexico,
and Washington. Within one year of enactment, the legislation
would require the Department of the Interior and the Department
of Energy to finalize the boundaries of the proposed park and
to complete an agreement specifying how each department would
administer properties included in it. H.R. 5987 also would
require the National Park Service (NPS) to complete a general
management plan for the park within three years after funds
have been made available.
The final costs of implementing H.R. 5987 would depend on
which lands are chosen for inclusion in the new park unit.
Based on information from the NPS, CBO estimates that including
all eligible sites would cost $21 million over the 2013-2017
period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Cost
would be lower if fewer sites were included. Enacting H.R. 5987
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
H.R. 5987 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures. The final costs of implementing
H.R. 5987 would depend on which lands are chosen for inclusion
in the new park unit. Based on information from the National
Park Service, CBO estimates that including all eligible sites
would cost $21 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming
appropriation of the necessary amounts. Cost would be lower if
fewer sites were included.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or
objective of this bill is to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos,
New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington.
This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of
the House of Representatives.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing
H.R. 5987 creates a new national park, the Manhattan
Project National Historic Park, after over 8 years of study.
The bill's sponsors have correctly represented the
recommendations made in the National Park Service's Special
Resource Study/Environmental Assessment. However, the
legislation contains a crippling provision that impairs the
ability of the National Park Service (NPS) to include relevant
sites as part of the Historic Park. Specifically, the
legislation would only allow the NPS to acquire new sites
through donation or exchange. This limitation is a concern to
the National Trust for Historic Preservation which supports the
legislation but stated that the NPS should have the authority
to acquire property with monies made available through the Land
and Water Conservation Fund. During testimony on the
legislation, the Executive Director of the Los Alamos
Historical Society indicated that the NPS needed fee
acquisition authority in order to acquire some properties from
willing sellers in the future. H.R. 5987 should be amended to
clarify that NPS can acquire property through purchase from a
willing seller, donation, or exchange.
Edward J. Markey.
Raul M. Grijalva.
Ben R. Lujan.